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Doing more with less: Creating an online community for accepted students

For SUNY CUAD & SUNY CAP conferences, June 10-11, 2009

1 of 24
Doing More with Less:
Creating an online community for accepted students




Rachel Reuben
Director of Web Communication & Strategic Projects, SUNY New Paltz
rachelreuben.com          doteduguru.com           @rachelreuben
we’re all feeling the budget
crunch

• travel/conference budgets slashed
• departmental budgets slashed
• programs cut
• endowments falling
we’re all feeling the budget
crunch

• losing positions through attrition, retirements & non-
  renewals
• temp service budgets cut
• reducing print even more
• relying on Web and electronic media even more
what can you do?

 • partner with other departments
 • share/pool resources
 • interns, existing student staff
   • OLs, RAs, student ambassadors, greeters, etc.
 • task variety
 • beware of job enlargement / workload creep
how social media can help


• Personal attention
• One-on-one and one-to-many conversations
• Social proofing & viral marketing
• Comfort level in their environment
how social media can help

• Put personal face(s) to university
• Build relationships & trust
• listening - “grow bigger ears” http://is.gd/Nb8J
• some free, most relatively cheap
• reach more - targeted - with less
Ad

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BBA 603 FUNDAMENTAL OF E- COMMERCE UNIT 1.pptxBBA 603 FUNDAMENTAL OF E- COMMERCE UNIT 1.pptx
BBA 603 FUNDAMENTAL OF E- COMMERCE UNIT 1.pptx
 

Doing more with less: Creating an online community for accepted students

  • 1. Doing More with Less: Creating an online community for accepted students Rachel Reuben Director of Web Communication & Strategic Projects, SUNY New Paltz rachelreuben.com doteduguru.com @rachelreuben
  • 2. we’re all feeling the budget crunch • travel/conference budgets slashed • departmental budgets slashed • programs cut • endowments falling
  • 3. we’re all feeling the budget crunch • losing positions through attrition, retirements & non- renewals • temp service budgets cut • reducing print even more • relying on Web and electronic media even more
  • 4. what can you do? • partner with other departments • share/pool resources • interns, existing student staff • OLs, RAs, student ambassadors, greeters, etc. • task variety • beware of job enlargement / workload creep
  • 5. how social media can help • Personal attention • One-on-one and one-to-many conversations • Social proofing & viral marketing • Comfort level in their environment
  • 6. how social media can help • Put personal face(s) to university • Build relationships & trust • listening - “grow bigger ears” http://is.gd/Nb8J • some free, most relatively cheap • reach more - targeted - with less
  • 7. how social media *can’t* help • Not another bulletin board • Not a place to blow your horn • Not a place to jump up & down
  • 8. another spoke in the wheel
  • 9. online community for fall 2009 accepted students
  • 10. what is Ning? • like Facebook • an online platform for users to create their own social Web sites and social networks • forums, videos, events, groups, personal profiles • ning.com • premium services / costs
  • 11. admissions strategy • Accept ~4,400 students • Enroll ~1,100 students • Accept ~1,400 early action students • Maximize most highly selective students
  • 12. admissions strategy • sticker on accept packet • invite students (upload file from Banner) • early action accepts Jan 1 - Feb. 21 • launched 1/2/09, invited 1,323 • all accepted students Feb. 21 - May 1 • invited 1,000 initially, then batches every 2 weeks • all transfer students mid-April - on
  • 13. Café New Paltz: content • Baristas • Regular updates (videos with custom jingle) • Daily interaction, encouragement, conversation starters & joiners • “Café-shaped conversations” • personal, intellectual
  • 14. Café New Paltz: results • Members: 690 • Paid PED: 52% • 70% from highest selectivity group • Photos: 1,168 • Videos: 22 • Forums: 93
  • 15. Café New Paltz: additional benefits • free(-ish) marketing research • no overhead account management - all done through Banner export / Ning import • give them a place to talk & converse on “our turf” without intimidating them
  • 16. Café New Paltz: costs • $24.95/month to remove ads ($149.70 for 6 months) • ~$50 for props • existing resources • 2 HD Sony video cameras • Flip Mino video camera • student interns
  • 18. Café New Paltz: anecdotes “I must be going. I’m definitely going to login again though. This is an amazing resource.” “Yeah, this is a pretty great thing set up here.” “Yeah, I’ve never run across a school with something this helpful & people this nice before! It’s great!” “I am really liking Café New Paltz. It is making it a lot easier to adjust & I think between this & orientation we should be good. :)”
  • 19. Café New Paltz: after May 1 • asked the community • pitched to Student Affairs • Orientation connection • new baristas • fall
  • 20. what about Facebook? • groups vs. Pages • member management nightmare • lack of design customization
  • 21. our secrets • answer questions promptly • join in the conversation, encourage interaction • show examples at group tours & general info sessions • include links in e-mail correspondence • bags • interact postcards, Web site
  • 22. things to consider • loss of control • time commitment • information overload • anyone can create an “official” account for your university
  • 23. measurement • ROI --> return on influence • long tail effect • Café New Paltz • yield more highly selective students • think outside the box - Ning limitations & programming • quality not quantity (# of fans/followers/subscribers)
  • 24. ? ? questions Rachel Reuben reubenr@newpaltz.edu site: rachelreuben.com blog: doteduguru.com Twitter: @rachelreuben